Plains Native Americans enjoyed lives rich in artistic expression. Displays of status and wealth appeared in lavishly ornamented clothing and finely decorated objects featuring colorful and intricate appliques of quillwork and beadwork.
Prior to obtaining glass trade beads, Plains peoples used porcupine quills to embellish clothing and personal objects. This distinctive art form entailed wrapping, plaiting or sewing flattened and naturally dyed quills into geometric or banded motifs. Applique beadwork, using overlay and lazy-stitch sewing techniques with "pony" and "seed" beads, evolved and flourished throughout the 19th century.
Women created nearly all the decorative patterns and they alone mastered the intricate application techniques, often as members of honorary quillwork or beadwork societies. Varying from region to region, such adornment ranged from complex geometric motifs on fully beaded backgrounds in the north, to sparse border work combined with broad painted surfaces in the south.
The Portable Life
As nomadic hunters, Plains peoples adapted to transient lives and temporary homes. At various times of the year, foodstuffs, personal possessions and shelters had to be readily packed and transported. Most belongings traveled by travois, a simple, A-shaped frame of two lodge poles with a buffalo-hide hammock that carried the load.
For generations the Plains tribes used domesticated dogs to pull travois, which limited their range and carrying capacity. With the acquisition of the horse, Plains culture experienced remarkable change. The horse's greater size and strength allowed a dramatic increase in the size of living accommodations and the amount of personal property.
Plains Indians created and used a variety of hide or skin cases, envelopes, pouches and containers to package, transport and protect their food, personal property and weaponry. Even babies up to 18 months were housed in elaborately decorated carriers--portable "containers" of varying design that also served as highchairs and sleeping cribs.
The Medicine Dogs
The adoption of the horse between 1680 and 1750 revolutionized Plains Indian culture, bringing it to its zenith between 1800 and 1850. Horses augmented existing nomadic life ways, dramatically expanding the carrying capacity, mobility and range of Plains peoples. As a result, intertribal warfare, buffalo harvesting and the accumulation of material goods increased in turn.
Horses became the primary standard of wealth and medium of exchange among the Plains peoples, and they were an important symbol of male status. For Native American women, particularly among the Blackfeet and Crow, the personal ownership of horses, saddles and trappings brought greater social standing.
Women served as the chief saddle makers among the Plains tribes, manufacturing two distinct patterns. The simple pad saddle--a shaped, pillow-like design--usually was ridden by men for hunting and war. Women more often used a frame saddle having side boards attached to individual pommel and cantle pieces that varied in pattern from region to region.
these are some ATLANTIC woodland indians I painted up.But what indian is it? Plains?